Three Surprising Ways Bible Reading with My Kids Has Changed Me

The following article is by Jon Nielson, author of Bible Reading with Your Kids: A Simple Guide for Every Father.

Bible Reading with Your Kids - Jon Nielson - Book CoverI’m sure I’m not the only one who finds regular time with my family in the Bible a challenge. There are plenty of distractions and reasons why reading the Bible with my three young kids is hard. But I’m convinced that the best thing I can do for my children is expose them to the Word of God (and ask the Holy Spirit to change their lives). In fact, I was so convinced that I wrote a book on the subject, called Bible Reading With Your Kids.

And as I’ve persevered and tried to make Bible reading with my children a regular habit, I’ve been surprised that God has been using this to change me. While I was convinced it would be beneficial for my children, I never imagined how God would also shape me through this. Here are three ways God is changing me.

I am growing in my understanding of the Bible.

Any good teacher, in any subject, will tell you that one good test of true comprehension of a complex concept is whether or not you can explain it with clarity to a young child. While it’s challenging to read the Bible and explain it simply to young children, it has forced me to work hard at comprehending biblical stories, ideas and teachings with pinpoint clarity. By God’s grace, this has forced me to work even harder in my own understanding of God’s word, which has been good for my heart and mind.

I am developing as a teacher of God’s word.

Some of us might never be public preachers of the Bible, but all of us are to be involved in word ministry in the context of the body of Christ, the local church (Colossians 3:16). As I’ve committed to reading the Bible with my children, and explaining it to them clearly along the way, I’ve found this has grown my confidence and ability to do word ministry with adults too. As I engage in ‘God talk’ with my kids and articulate gospel truths to them, this has helped me to have ‘God talk’ with other adults more naturally. When it comes to personal evangelism, I am more confident and at ease.

I am constantly being encouraged by my children in ways I never imagined.

I have found that since reading the Bible regularly with my children, I am finding deep delight in discipling them. I am loving the sweet conversations with them about the the things of God, as they form questions and wrestle through theological thoughts. I love watching them discover new and beautiful things about God, his grace, and his glorious redemption of sinners. There is a new dimension of friendship opening up, a spiritual friendship between my kids and I, and I pray this will continue to grow and flourish as they get older.

Let me encourage you, if you’re someone who also struggles with reading the Bible regularly with your children, to go for it! Now is the time to begin. Recalibrate your expectations and allow yourself grace. There will be some tough times; young kids can have trouble focusing, and we’ve certainly had our nights when Bible reading times have been rough! But keep persevering. It’s worth it. Expose your kids to God’s word daily, and commit them to him in prayer, trusting him to open their hearts to his gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit, and you might be surprised at how God uses this to change you too.

If you’re finding Bible reading with your kids a challenge, or are even unsure how to start, here are eight tips from my book Bible Reading With Your Kids for Matthias Media, that will help.

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Should We Focus on a Movement—Or Transformation?

One major goal of Leadership Resources’ training in biblical exposition is to launch indigenous-led movements of God’s Word in the countries where we work. By God’s grace, we have seen movements spring up in many countries where we work. But should a movement be the main focus of our work, or is there a more fundamental focus we should start with?

Doug Dunton recently asked an Ethiopian Mentor Trainer named Alex if he focused on a movement. We loved his answer so much we shared it below.

My focus is the true transformation in individuals. My desire is to see people experience the riches of God’s Word. The Spirit that is released as they are faithful when they dig into God’s Word. That is my desire–to see pastors, teachers who are being faithful to the Word of God. For nurturing their lives, and at the same time, building up the church. That’s the conviction.

This training changed my perspective of seeing God’s Word, studying God’s Word, and passing it on to others. This precious Word. The change is very personal. The training is very personal. If it changed me, if it really convicted me that I’m loosely handling God’s Word for my life and for my ministry, there are also other people who are easily distracted by a lot of eloquent speakers. They can copy many different sources, but that doesn’t give life. That is the major thing I’ve experienced in my life. This training leads me to focus on the Bible text.

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Who is in the driver’s seat of your church? David Jackman on the Heart of Expository Preaching

The Heart of Expository Preaching—Who is Driving the Church

We recently had a conversation with David Jackman of Proclamation Trust and the Cornhill Training Course on expository preaching, gospel ministry, Scripture’s authorial intent, and preaching the genres of the Bible (watch the full interview).

The video and transcript below share a highlight from the interview about the “heart” of expository ministry.

Todd Kelly of Leadership Resources: Can you explain what is at the heart of expository preaching? What is it intending to do?

David Jackman: Expository preaching takes the Bible seriously in it’s own terms. So, the expository preacher isn’t trying to do something with the Bible, he’s allowing the Bible to do something with him, which changes his mind and heart and then becomes the channel by which that message is passed on to others.

Lots of people will say, “I’m a Bible preacher”, and they certainly believe the Bible and will use the Bible. The analogy I use is to think about your church or ministry under the analogy of a car.

Where is the Bible in the car?

In some places, some churches, some Christians lives, the Bible is in the trunk of the car. It was put there a long time ago, nobody is quite sure what else is there; it got lost.

In some people and churches, the Bible is in the backseat of the car—and we all know how irritating backseat drives can be. They find the Bible more of an irritation than a help, because it says things they don’t want to hear.

In most evangelical churches, I would suggest, the Bible is often in the passenger seat of the car. It’s there to be consulted…it’s a map reader, you have a conversation with it like you might a passenger—but it is not driving the car.

In expository preaching, the Bible drives the sermon. The Bible is in the driving seat. Because the Bible is God’s Word, then Christ is in the driving seat of the church. If He isn’t in the driving seat, then I am in the driving seat. And I know that’s no good for the church. Expository preaching takes the Bible seriously as God’s inspired and inerrant Word and seeks to understand and explain it to drive the church and the Christian life and the ministry according to His truth.

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Tim Keesee calls TNT “Nation-Shaking” on Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front with Tim Keesee
A few years ago during a visit to South Sudan to equip pastors in the Training National Trainers program (in partnership with Christian Horizons), Doug Dunton and Pastor Allan Sherer were joined by Dr. Tim Keesee of Frontline Missions International.

Dr. Keesee documented his experience in Episode 5 of the popular missions DVD series Dispatches from the Front. Below is the transcript from the portion mentioning LRI with a few photos. Watch the clip below or see the transcript below.

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Just next door, Allan was rightly dividing the Word of truth. Christian Horizons is not only rescuing children but is also a force in strengthening the Church in the radical rescue work of the Gospel. Intensive Bible training was underway with men and women from all over the region—from elder statesmen like Pastor Ti-yay, who was tortured for his faith during the Communist time, to young men and women eager to learn and to share the Scriptures.

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Some of the pastors have said in the past their only models for preaching were the “health and wealth” types they saw on television—an embarrassing American export. These same men are now getting a taste for simple, solid biblical exposition, and they have publicly repented of how they handled God’s Word before. What is so effective about the teaching that Allan and his colleague Doug are doing is that learning is not for accumulation but for multiplication. Allan and Doug are just the initiators of a movement—for this school has legs! These pastors and evangelists are in turn teaching other pastors and evangelists in ever widening circles of Ethiopians training Ethiopians in Word-centered preaching.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 8.45.59 PMI love to think of the fact that in Acts there’s an Ethiopian searching the Scripture, and the Lord sent along Philip to show him Christ, Whom he embraced in faith and joy. The Ethiopian eunuch surely brought the Gospel back to this very land. Now in our time, God is raising up a new generation of Philips and of Ethiopians hungry to know and preach Jesus—to shake every corner of their nation with the Gospel!

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Dr. Tim Keesee journals his experience with Doug Dunton and our Africa TNTers.

Sat by the Nile yesterday morning beneath a huge mango tree and listened in on Michael and Kebede, his right-hand man, talking ministry strategy with Doug. Kebede is Oromo, he is intense, encyclopedic, and his administrative skills are as sharp and varied as a Swiss Army knife. What is impressive to me is the caliber of leadership among these Ethiopians.

What they are doing here is nation-shaking. Training that moves from generation to generation takes work, focus, mentoring, translators, and logistics. Conferences are easy, but multiplying leaders and overcoming lots of geographic and linguistic barriers isn’t. Here in Sudan they are taking the first steps to equip 1500 church planters who are taking the Gospel across South Sudan and into the Arab North.

Images are from Dispatches from the Front: Father, Give Me Bread (episode 5). Used with permission from Frontline Missions International, Taylors, South Carolina.

More information about the Dispatches from the Front video series is available at

Learn more about Frontline Missions International at

Learn more about Training National Trainers in Africa by exploring a refreshing approach to missions or by hearing how God is impacting pastors and churches.

Global Partnership for Gospel Advancement: Todd Kelly on Philippians 1:1-12

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” —Philippians 1:3–6

If you’ve been around LRI for any period of time, those words might sound familiar—they come up a lot in our trainings and at our office! This is because true gospel partnership is the lifeblood of our ministry around the world.

Todd Kelly (LRI’s International Director) recently preached on Philippians 1:1–12 at his home church (College Church in Wheaton, IL) for their Missions Festival. You can watch his message “Global Partnership for Gospel Advancement” below or download the audio.

Download Audio | Watch video on College Church’s Website


Unlock the Potential of Your Missions Strategy

Learn how to harness a missions partnership with deep, lasting results.

At The Gospel Coalition National Conference, we’re hosting a powerful event—stories of impact from pastors who have harnessed key strategies that changed everything about how they approach missions. Come hear what they did, how they did it, and why a strategy that’s not laser-focused on the Word is destined to fall flat.

The Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference
Room 116

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 7:45 AM

Coffee and bagels provided. Hosted by Colin Smith.

Every attendee will receive a copy of God of Word: The Word, the Spirit and how God speaks to us and can enter to win The Vine Project and Wisdom in Leadership.

Sign up to receive a reminder email about the event.

If you understand the importance of missions, you won’t want to miss this event. We look forward to seeing you there.

You have infected us…

You have infected us…

Have you ever been described as a virus?

If you have, was it meant to be a compliment?

But that is exactly how the words of one pastor from Central Asia* were meant when he declared: “You have infected us with TNT!” (TNT is the acronym for Training National Trainers, the name of LRI’s pastoral training ministry.)

This exclamation came while pastors were reporting to our staff on the spread of TNT in their country and even beyond that nation’s borders. What’s so amazing about this story is these pastors live in one country. They travel to a second country to be trained through TNT in handling and proclaiming God’s Word, which they then bring back home and pass along to their own countrymen. But then, they travel to a third country and multiply the training there as well! One group of pastors, three different countries, all being transformed by the Word of God through LRI’s TNT pastoral training… AMAZING!

While LRI is not planning to integrate this virus imagery into a rebranding and communications campaign any time soon, the analogy is a highly virulent one. When exposed to a virus, the human body is provoked to react, often in a way that is beyond its control. In a similar way, the Word of God provokes a response in the life and ministry of the pastor. But whereas a virus causes damage and maybe even death to its host, the Word brings life! Once these faithful brothers were “exposed” and became “infected” through TNT, there was a spiritual reaction that was beyond their control. No longer could they help themselves, for they had to reproduce this training in the lives of others. The “virus” had to spread!

It’s as if nothing can stop the spread of TNT, but only because it carries along the Word of God with its power to transform the hearts, lives, and ministries of these pastors. TNT is like a virus, but a life-giving strain that is spreading around the world.

Not to stretch this analogy too far, but may there be a pandemic of the Word through TNT, the likes of which the world has never before witnessed.

*For security purposes, the name of the pastor and country in this story have been withheld.

Author: Joe Paglia, Director of Operations at Leadership Resources

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From 12 to 2,000 (and Beyond): A Movement of God’s Word in Brazil

At the 2016 Global Proclamation Congress, we sat down with David Merkh and talked about the mighty ways God has used the Training National Trainers Program in Brazil since training began in 2006. David Merkh serves with Pregue La Palavra (Preach the Word), a ministry founded to expand TNT training in Brazil.

In the video, David mentions several keys to our ministry:

  • LRI’s strong partnership with our Brazilian partners (PIBA).
  • A laser-focus on transformation from God’s Word.
  • Training that immerses students in the Bible.
  • Equipped men passionate to pass this transformation to others (2 Timothy 2:2).

David also mentions the substance and scope of the movement:

  • Training is expanding all over Brazil, even to remote villages in the Amazon region.
  • Training is crossing borders and reaching pastors in Venezuela, Cuba, and Angola (Africa).
  • Our partners are frequently approached to begin new training groups. With their growing team of trainers, they are able to respond to many calls for training.

Learn more about Training National Trainers or partner with our work in Latin America.

Former Drug Addicts Hungry for God’s Word

New Life

God’s Word brings life!

If you have been around the LRI world for any length of time this is likely a phrase you have heard. Why? It is the core conviction that drives our ministry. It is why we do what we do.

Speaking these words simply lends voice to what Jesus declared long ago, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus drew these words from Deuteronomy 8:3 (read along with the surrounding context), but perhaps he also had in mind the process described in Isaiah 55:10-11 (read the whole chapter for maximum benefit).

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

It is easy to hear the second half (“not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose”) but miss the first (“making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater”). This is an image of life. The Word that comes from God creates, nourishes and sustain life. Nothing else has this power and beauty. This is not only our conviction—it’s our delight. Over the years we’ve been so privileged to hear and see this truth in action. Every time we walk away in wonder and joy saying, “Isn’t our God great!”

Former Drug Addicts Hungry for God’s Word

Meet Daniel. He is one of our Mentor Trainers, a key graduate partnering with us to spread a Movement of the Word of God in his part of the world. Among other things, he is directly training some 25 former drug addicts. They have been transformed by Christ. Many of them with HIV, quite literally knowing what it means to be brought back from death to life. They have decided to serve Christ with their lives. They are hungry for the Word of God and eager to help and train others in addiction. Daniel will spend 4 years discipling them. For two years he will train them in how to study the Bible and for two more how to preach it.

One year into the training Daniel reports, “when they get these principles they apply the Word of God very quickly and effectively.”

Recently he gave an assignment regarding the two roads in Matthew 7:13-14. The broad road leads to destruction, the narrow one leads to life. He asked them to study it for themselves then report back.

When they came back together, it was clear God’s Spirit was at work in their lives. They said, “we used to be on the road to destruction, but now we are on the road to eternal life. They spoke not as one making a simple recitation, but as one whose spirit had been revived by the light of day. They bubbled up with the God-given awareness that through following Jesus may be hard it is worth it all. They not only saw, they perceived.

One of the students, in particular, is an example of such change. His wife testifies, “He used to be a cruel man, using his leadership to control others, but now he serves with humility.” She is so happy to see his transformation that she willing supports him through her earnings as a hairdresser to give 100% of his time to serve the Lord as a pastor to drug addicts. All attending his church are former drug addicts or family members of such and become Christians when they see his transformation. His wife is so happy.

The Word of God truly brings life!

Note: I have not identified real names and places though you may have guessed. If I were to do so, you would be filled with even greater joy.

LRI Social Media Highlights


Below are some of our best social media postings from the past few weeks.

Follow LRI on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

Two interviews from our YouTube Channel:

The Trellis and the Vine with Colin Marshall

The Vine Project with Colin Marshall

A couple of recommended books from Matthias Media

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